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April 22, 2011

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Seafood in markets free of radiation

SEAFOOD in Shanghai is now free of radiation leaked from the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan as most of the aquatic products available now come from offshore fishing.

But the situation may change when a new deep sea fishing season starts next month, fisheries experts said yesterday at the 9th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum held at Shanghai Ocean University.

"Pacific saury and squid, which are caught from waters near Japan and Russia, might have been affected," said Jin Xianshi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

"The two aquatic products currently sold here are safe because they were caught last year," he said.

"But they should be tested for radiation with the arrival of the new fishing season," he added.

Domestic fisheries authorities have not decided whether to start the north Pacific fishing boats, which usually sail in May, experts disclosed.

Currently, Japan's Fisheries Agency has only found high levels of radioactive contaminants in one species, the sand eel, said Hisashi Kurokura, professor of the Department of Global Agriculture Sciences at the University of Tokyo.

"It's still safe to eat the fish because the radioactive contaminants found in the eel is only twice the safe level," he said.

"The danger level is 100 times higher than the safe level," he said.

"One would need to eat 1 kilogram of the eel for three meals a day for a year to become sick," he said.

Each country has different regulations about food safety standards, but Japan's are among the strictest in the world, he said.

The radiation leak has hurt the seafood industry as many Japanese people have stopped eating fish, experts told the forum.


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